Originally Posted by Sharp
Ergh, why is it that people who argue against the changing of existing media to better represent underrepresented individuals almost always do such a poor job of doing so.

First off, some context about me, because I feel that in this case it is relevant to the discussion. I am South African. I can assure you, 90% or more of the things you may have assumed about me prior to reading this post are probably incorrect and I can also assure you that I am not well represented in online media at all and it would be nice if that was at some point changed. With that being said, there are 2 ways to improve representation. The first is to take an existing piece of media and change it to represent a different group of people and the second is to create new media to represent those groups.

Now, when it comes to D&D, I personally do not care if the entirety of the lore was thrown out and rewritten, I do not think it is particularly good to begin with and I do believe it could be much better than it currently is. I will still however defend the people who want to preserve the lore as is, even if I do not care about it myself. Why is that? Because when the integrity of a piece is important to someone, by changing it you are "killing" a part of that world to them. It is the same as when an adaptation of a book into film is done poorly, it takes the image of the universe that individuals who care about that universe see in their head, throws it out and replaces it with something inferior. In the case of iconic figures being changed, it is taking away a "hero" from one group and giving it to another, which is essentially taking away representation from one group to give it to someone else. I think its pretty obvious there why people are upset, because icons they relate to are having that relation removed. When it comes to changing the appearance of a fantasy race to be more representative, the same thing is happening. The very identity of the race is being eroded.

Does this mean I am against better representing people in media? No! Absolutely not. But I am against the changing of existing established identities to do so. There is the alternative, creating new media to represent people. Not only does this have the advantage of not eroding existing identities, but it also creates a richer universe, featuring more than the universe that came before. New races can be created, new heroes can be added, new cultures can be inserted and the fictional universe would be better off with all of that. So with all of that being said, I will defend maintaining the lore appearance of elves in the Forgotten Realms, even if I think the lore is bad, because if you aren't willing to defend the settings other people care about when people try to change them, then you cannot expect other people to come and defend the fictional universes you do care about if the same thing happens :P

With all of that being said, the elves in BG 3 are decidedly not elven enough and should be further modified to better represent their in lore appearance :P

While I agree with part of your argument I don't necessarily think it applies to making elves more inclusive. This is a minor aesthetic change--not an alteration to their core concepts. Allowing them to have a greater range of features does not take anything away from people who view them as predominantly Caucasian. If elves belonged to one group, expanding it to others just means they have to share, as opposed to having it taken away from them entirely. No one is asking for more diversity to the exclusion of Caucasian features.

And D&D changes its existing, established identities with every new version of the game and updated source book. Just look at the tieflings. This isn't a inflexible franchise to begin with.

I also don't think creating new media is the answer to this problem, given how huge a property D&D is. Larian's answer to D&D is DOS and, personally, I couldn't really get into that world. I enjoy the world of D&D and in actual table top games we have the freedom to make our characters however we want. The line of thinking "If you don't like this one thing then maybe you should go elsewhere" is the exact kind of gatekeeping that I find so insidious, because it invalidates the feelings of people who otherwise DO love the world. (Btw, I don't think that's your intention--I'm referring to other posts and how others may use this logic to disregard the feelings of marginalized people.) Given that D&D IS a franchise that changes over time, clinging to certain aesthetic values while going along with other changes points to peoples' anxieties outside the game rather than a devotion to the immutability of the lore.